The oceans are our largest habitat, and invaluable for the survival of humankind. They regulate the climate, store more oxygen than the forests, and through their biodiversity make a crucial contribution to feeding the world. And yet the oceans are under immense pressure: they are being exploited, overfished, over-acidified, and polluted with wastewater and solid waste. Climate change is also increasing the temperature of the oceans, causing sea levels to rise with various adverse effects. Coral reefs are dying throughout the world, for example. This destroys the "nurseries" and refuges for many species of fish and makes thousands of kilometres of coastline more vulnerable to storm tides. Millions of people could therefore fall – even deeper – into poverty.
This is why the first international conference on the world's oceans was organised in New York in June 2017, where the international community reinforced Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, and agreed upon a "Call for Action". Both are designed to help protect and preserve the oceans as an ecosystem. The follow-up conference will take place in June 2020 in Lisbon. KfW is committed in this area too: protecting coastlines and the oceans already accounts for around ten per cent of our activities related to biodiversity. KfW Development Bank attaches growing importance to this issue. This is one of the reasons why it established the Blue Action Fund at the end of 2016, which promotes the creation and better management of coastline and marine conservation areas, sustainable fishing and environmentally friendly tourism. Within this framework, 9 projects in 13 countries are currently being financed. This will protect around 190,000 km² and benefit 230,000 people. KfW's work in this field is also in line with the 10-point plan of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding marine protection.